Oceans in the past history of Mars: Tests for their presence using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 25, Issue 24, pages 4401–4404, 15 December 1998
How to Cite
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 SEP 1998
- Manuscript Received: 7 JUL 1998
An ancient north polar ocean on Mars has been proposed [Parker et al., 1989] and we use MOLA data to test the hypothesis. Of the two proposed contacts/shorelines, the younger Contact 2 shows the closest approximation to an equipotential surface; vertical variations along this surface occur in areas with post-contact-formation geological activity or suspected changes in the position of an equipotential surface (e.g., Tharsis) with time. The surface of Mars is smoother at all scales below Contact 2 than above. The volume of the region below Contact 2 (∼1.5×107 km³) is between the minimum estimated total outflow channel discharge and the maximum estimated megaregolith pore space. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that a large standing body of water occupied the northern lowlands in the past history of Mars.